Microsoft is releasing user interface improvements designed to unify and improve the interface. Improvements include a new activity timeline for mobile with inline actions and new custom controls and expanded offline mobile capabilities, including for the micro apps that administrators can build for specific roles. Additional updates include new theming options, improved mobile layout support, and an updated look and feel that further updates the user interface to look more current.
The Social Pane has been revamped and renamed to “Timeline Control” – it now has Notes, Activates and Posts combined into 1 feed in chronological order. You can view attachments and assign tasks inline. Another interesting premise to increase productivity is the “What you have missed” section allowing you to see what has been created since the last time you accessed that record. You can also configure what activity types show in the Timeline on a form by form basis.
Microsoft look to be bringing the Scheduling engines for Field Service, Project Service, Sales & Customer Service together as one all-encompassing application. You’ll have the ability to add a skill to a product and then schedule a resource based on matching criteria for that product to work on the related case. You can also set Primary and Secondary resources in a region for specified Work Order Types.
Resource Scheduling Optimisation is known commonly as the Scheduling Engine – this will check your constraints and business objectives to schedule the best resource for the specified job. You can now create a schedule directly from the schedule board. Enhanced error reporting and troubleshooting gives friendlier messages now.
New to the Marketing Module, Microsoft has introduced “Event Management” – this is only available in Dynamics 365, Business Edition Marketing. It has its own business process of Plan>Launch>Close allowing you to track all stages from pre-planning to event feedback to converting to a lead. There is an “Event Portal” that will allow people to sign up and see the calendar – this can be customised as per any Portal.
Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365 will dramatically increase the effectiveness of salespeople by tapping into their professional networks and relationships, giving them the ability to improve their pipeline. Sales Navigator will allow you log into your LinkedIn profile and can pull through any information that is stored in LinkedIn for a lead. You’ll have access to data like – who can introduce you, highlights that will start conversations, requesting introductions and more.
Dynamics 365 will also press forward with Virtual Entities, which will allow integrated data residing in outside systems to be integrated into the interface via web services. The Virtual Entities model also has the potential to impact the Common Data Service story some partners have and partner sources have predicted.
The Customer Insights experience, which Microsoft hailed earlier this year as an offering that brings together BI, enterprise data, analytics, machine learning and more, will add ambitious new machine learning, analytical, predictive and data processing capabilities to do things like compile and compute new views of contacts based on analysis of multi-channel data. The first set of pre-built input connectors for Customer Insights will be for Dynamics 365 (presumably CRM entities, not ERP-focused apps), Microsoft Exchange, and Azure Storage. A “Microsoft Social Exchange” integration is planned, and others (including perhaps competitors’ CRMs) will be launched in the future. Custom integrations will be supported via REST APIs and CSV BLOB upload.
Introducing Microsoft Flow and Action workflows directly from a Business Process. There are now views that will show records based on the BPF stage. Interactive Service HUB dashboards have been brought in to allow entities and charts for Business Processes. Actions can now be added to a Business Process Flow to run a workflow or Action which will be a trigger button on your ribbon.
Judging by the reaction on Twitter, a few topics were of particular interest including virtual entities, SMB app customisation, the marketing automation capabilities of the SMB marketing app, and the divide between enterprise and SMB solutions. Continue the conversation on LinkedIn and Twitter – we’d love to hear what updates you’re most looking forward to.